Category: Training

The History of Resistance Bands

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A recent spate of travel has made access to heavy weights a near impossibility. Hotel and College gyms with dumbbells up to 30 kilos and in some cases, with not a barbell in sight have forced me to be inventive with my training. In the past such occurrences would have caused me a great inconvenience but thanks to the advice of a friend, I finally capitulated and bought a set of resistance bands.

Admittedly I’d been sceptical. Resistance bands for me, conjure up images up Charles Atlas-esque resistance training that although promising much, could not compete with actual weights. Nevertheless, my head has been turned, and although not a fully fledged convert to resistance training, I can’t deny how useful they’ve been recently. My very unexotic travels have however spurred my interest in the equipment. So in today’s post we’re going to examine the history of resistance bands. Where they came from, who popularised them and some useful tips on how to use them should you be stuck on your own travels.

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History of the Leg Extension Machine

A mainstay in gyms across the globe, the leg extension is perhaps one of the most controversial machines amongst the lifting community, at least from the 1990s onward. For some it is a one way ticket to an ACL tear, while for others, it’s one of the most effective means of building up the iconic tear drop quad muscle.

That the machine’s existence causes such confusion undoubtedly gives us pause for thought. Who invented this machine? And why has it proved so enduring?

The Sig Klein Challenge

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Face it.

Every now and then you want to try something new in the gym. A new lift, a new rep range or an entirely new style of training. The mind gets bored of monotony, something which the lifters of yore were all too acquainted with. Today’s post on the Sig Klein challenge will not only help reinvigorate your training, it’ll provide a test of your overall strength. Not bad for something new huh?

Dennis B. Weis, A Seminar with Frank Zane (1977)

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The following interview took place with the legendary Frank Zane during the bodybuilder’s preparation for that year’s Mr. Olympia, a competition Zane won by the day. Detailing Frank’s workout, nutrition and mental preparation, it offers a valuable insight into the career of one of bodybuilding’s most recognisable characters. Enjoy!

Lee Moran And the Thousand Pound Squat

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Who was the first man to legitimately squat 1,000 lbs.? Its a simple question, with a disputed answer. As covered previously on this site, Dave Waddington was credited with a 1,013 lbs. squat in 1981. There was just one problem. No officials had seen Dave’s efforts, meaning that his squat although impressive, was relegated to hearsay.

It took until 1984 for an official 1,000 lbs. squat to hit the record books and despite what you may have guessed, it wasn’t Waddington who did it.

The History of the Burpee

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An exercise loved and loathed across classrooms, the Burpee can be found in P.E. classes, conditioning circuits and anywhere where trainees are searching to shed pounds and increase definition.

As simple as it is difficult, the exercise is often engaged in with relative unenthusiasm. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who genuinely enjoys it! Nevertheless it is done. And for that reason alone, it’s interesting to explore its relatively recent history.

The History of the Burpee

Workout for a Working Man

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This article, first published in Health and Strength Magazine in 1956 is a great reminder that we don’t need to spend hours in the gym to maintain our fitness. In fact, the writers of this programme believed it could be done in half an hour or less. Ideal for those struggling to make time to workout.

So sorry folks, not having an hour to workout is no longer an excuse! Check out the routine below.

Bigger Faster Stronger: The Mr. Olympia

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Bodybuilders, like most other professional athletes in the last four decades, have undergone an unprecedented change. Whereas the first Mr. Olympia weighed in at just over 200 lbs, the modern champion is more likely to be sixty pounds heavier and leaner as well.

While the reasons for this, at least in bodybuilding, are clear, it is still interesting to reflect upon this change. Today’s short post discusses the average weight for the overall Mr. Olympia since it’s inception and shows how and when ‘the mass monsters’ gained a foothold in the sport.

Don Ross’ Foundation Bodybuilding Routines

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Not many people nowadays speak about ‘The Ripper’ and ‘Bronx Barbarian’. Born in the mid 1940s, Don Ross, who went by these stage names, was a highly popular and influential bodybuilding writer in the 1980s and early 1990s. Plying his trade both within the Iron Game and professional wrestler, his articles and even TV appearances were valued by many. In a rather cool piece of historical sources surviving, we have footage of Don’s hosting of ‘Muscle Beach News’, a rather niche programme operating in the late 1980s and early 1990s.